News Releases

 

2018

 

JCRC/AJC DENOUNCES REPORTED COMMENTS MADE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

January 12, 2018 - We denounce the comments reportedly made by President Trump yesterday regarding immigrants from Haiti and some African countries. Throughout history, people have come to the United States in search of freedom and opportunity. America is a nation of immigrants, and there is no place for the nativist language that came out of the White House yesterday. JCRC/AJC will continue to stand up in defense of pluralism and in support of immigration policies that reflect our values.

2017

 

JEWISH COMMUNITY WELCOMES MUSLIM NEIGHBORS TO JOIN IN CHRISTMAS DAY VOLUNTEERING TRADITION

Bloomfield Hills, MI, December 2017 - Detroit’s Jewish community will welcome fellow volunteers from the area’s Muslim community on Monday, December 25 to take part in Mitzvah Day, the annual single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community. Volunteers of all ages will participate in dozens of social service projects throughout metro Detroit so that their Christian neighbors can celebrate Christmas at home with their families.

Please note most volunteer activities that are cleared for media coverage will take place between 6:30 am – 1 pm on Christmas Day. The Piquette Square site in Detroit will run until 3p.m., and Brilliant Detroit in Detroit and Hope Adult Center in Pontiac, will both host volunteers until approximately 4:00 p.m.  A list of sites cleared for media is attached.

Mitzvah Day is presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Drawing on the shared value of community service, nearly 1,000 Jewish volunteers will be joined for the eighth year by their Muslim neighbors to take part in “mitzvahs” (good deeds), aiding Detroit area social service agencies at nearly 50 different community sites on Christmas Day. The Michigan Muslim Community Council is coordinating volunteer participation from the local Muslim community for Mitzvah Day.

Volunteer teams will fan out to pre-assigned sites throughout metro Detroit. Project times vary, running between 6:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Many grandparents, parents and children will volunteer together as families. In the spirit of giving back to the community, volunteers will donate a few hours of their time to participate in a variety of activities, including visits to older adults in nursing care facilities, preparing and serving holiday meals, and delivering toys and gifts to families in need.

Mitzvah Day event chairs are Micki Grossman, Illana Stern and Milt Neuman. For more information about Mitzvah Day, call the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, 248-642-5393.

JEWS AND HINDUS CELEBRATE FESTIVALS OF LIGHT

Bloomfield Hills, MI, December 2017 - The metropolitan Detroit area’s Jewish and Hindu communities joined together for their first celebration of Chanukah and Diwali at the Bharatiya Temple in Troy. Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Hindu American Foundation, “Finding Common Ground through the Festivals of Light: A Chanukah & Diwali Celebration,” included a night of learning about the unique practices and traditions of the Jewish and Hindu religions. Participants enjoyed latkes and sufganiyot and samosas and traditional Indian sweets, representing the respective holidays, and lit the Chanukah menorah and Diwali diyas, the traditional ritual objects used during these holidays. During the program, JCRC/AJC Executive Director David Kurzmann and HAF Leadership Council member Frank Stella led a discussion about the holidays and also both communities approaches to political advocacy, The conversation was moderated by HAF board member Padma Kuppa.  Rabbi Aura Ahuvia of Congregation Shir Tikvah and Nasy Sankagiri of the Bharatiya Temple led participants in song, a highlight of this festive evening.

AARON DAVID MILLER

Bloomfield Hills, MI, November 2017 - Temple Beth El proudly welcomes Aaron David Miller, Vice-President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 9 at 7 p.m.  Miller will present “Gullivers Troubles: America, Israel and the Middle East.”

The program, which is free and open to the community, is sponsored by Temple Beth El with support from the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC.                             

For two decades, Miller, served in the Department of State as an analyst, negotiator and adviser on Middle Eastern issues to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. Between 2003 and 2006, he also served as president of Seeds of Peace, an internationally recognized program in conflict resolution and coexistence.   Miller has written five books, including his most recent, “The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President” (Palgrave, 2014). His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times; and his column “Reality Check” appears in Foreign Policy Magazine. He is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and a frequent commentator on NPR, BBC and Sirius XM radio.

For more information, contact Temple Beth El Program Director Danielle Gordon, 248-851-1100, or [email protected] Temple Beth El is located at 7400 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills

BOMB THREAT SUSPECT ARRESTED

Bloomfield Hills, MI, March 23, 2017 - The Detroit Jewish community is relieved and grateful that the F.B.I., working with Israeli law enforcement, has secured the arrest of an individual who is allegedly linked to the majority of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers in recent months. The apprehension of the American Israeli suspect, if he is proven to be involved, will go a long way toward calming the nerves of the Jewish community.  Still, many of the large number of recent threats, cemetery desecrations, and other anti-Semitic incidents - which constitute a significant uptick in anti-Semitism in contrast to past years - are unsolved crimes and need the determined work of our police agencies to catch the perpetrators. Dr. Richard Krugel, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, said “We thank law enforcement, government leaders, our interfaith partners and the media for their support during these tense weeks and months. We will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to secure our community institutions and to counter anti-Semitism and other hate crimes against the Jewish community.”

MICHIGAN JEWISH LEADERS PRAISE FBI AND U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR ARREST OF ST. LOUIS MAN IN THREATS AGAINST JEWISH INSTITUTIONS

West Bloomfield, MI, March 3, 2017 - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Detroit Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit welcomed the arrest of a St. Louis man in connection with bomb threats against at least eight Jewish Institutions across the United States including Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills and ADL headquarters in New York.

According to a complaint unsealed this morning in Manhattan federal court, Juan Thompson, 31, of St. Louis, Missouri, is alleged to have made at least eight of the threats against JCCs and other Jewish institutions in January and February as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate a former girlfriend.  Thompson has been charged with one count of cyberstalking, and other charges may be pending.

“We are relieved and gratified that the FBI has made an arrest in these cases. We are grateful to Detroit area, state of Michigan and federal law enforcement for their continuing effort to resolve this matter” said Heidi Budaj, ADL Michigan Regional Director. “The unwavering support from law enforcement and their diligent efforts to solve the remaining cases bring us hope that there may a quick resolution of the remaining open cases.” 

These incidents have caused anxiety and concern in the Jewish community in recent weeks.  "Ensuring the safety and welfare of our Jewish community is central to the mission of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and we are thankful for all of the local and national security and law enforcement personnel that remain committed to keeping our schools and campuses safe,” stated Lawrence A. Wolfe, President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

“We commend law enforcement for this positive development in the pursuit of justice in the wake of these threats,” added Dr. Richard Krugel, President, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC.  “Our community has deeply appreciated the many calls we have received from community and government leaders, and our interfaith partners, expressing concern and support in recent weeks.”

The arrested individual was on the radar of ADL’s Center on Extremism, which had followed his past activities, including his deceptive and at times false reports for a news website;  more information about his activities may be found at http://bit.ly/2mmZYpd.  ADL will continuously share its information about the alleged perpetrator via its Twitter account, @ADL_National, and will continue to update information on bomb threats targeting Jewish Institutions at http://bit.ly/2mOCMNY

2016

 

Jewish Community Welcomes Muslim Neighbors To Join In Annual Christmas Day Volunteering Tradition

Detroit’s Jewish community will mark the first full day of Chanukah by welcoming fellow volunteers from the area’s Muslim community on Sunday, December 25 to take part in Mitzvah Day, the annual single largest day of volunteering by Detroit’s Jewish community. Volunteers of all ages will participate in dozens of social service projects throughout metro Detroit so that their Christian neighbors can celebrate Christmas at home with their families.

Mitzvah Day is presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council/ajc and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Drawing on the shared value of community service, nearly 1,000 Jewish volunteers will be joined for the seventh year by their Muslim neighbors to take part in “mitzvahs” (good deeds), aiding Detroit area social service agencies at 46 different community sites on Christmas Day. The Michigan Muslim Community Council is coordinating volunteer participation from the local Muslim community for Mitzvah Day.

Volunteer teams will fan out to pre-assigned sites throughout metro Detroit. Project times vary, running between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Many grandparents, parents and children will volunteer together as families. In the spirit of giving back to the community, volunteers will donate a few hours of their time to participate in a variety of activities, including visits to older adults in nursing care facilities, preparing and serving holiday meals, and delivering toys and gifts to families in need.

Mitzvah Day event chairs are Micki Grossman, Illana Stern and Milt Neuman. For more information about Mitzvah Day, call the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, 248-642-5393.

JCRC/AJC To Host "Escape From Yemen" Program

Mohammed Al-Samawi and Dan Pincus will share their personal story of a Muslim-Jewish partnership that overcame differences and stereotypes to recuse Mohammed from the grips of war-torn Yemen, at a program sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Michigan Muslim Community Council, on Sunday, November 13 at 2:30 pm at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

In March 2015, Mohammed Al-Samawi was forced to flee his home city of Sana’a, Yemen after receiving death threats for his activities promoting relations between Yemeni Muslims and Israeli Jews. He was in Aden Yemen when he found himself caught in a three-way crossfire between Yemeni Houthis invading the Al Qaeda-controlled city, while a Saudi Arabian-led coalition navy and air force imposed a naval blockade and aerial bombardment. Desperate for any assistance, Mohammed reached out to his network of American and Israeli friends whom he had met at interfaith conferences. Together, this team orchestrated an unlikely evacuation from the war and his immigration to the United States, where he continues his work building peaceful relationships across national and religious lines.

Today, Al-Samawi lives in Washington D.C. where he works for the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, doing research on religious extremism in Yemen and Pakistan. He travels the country with Pincus, to tell their story of a partnership and friendship that crossed borders to achieve a miracle, and to speak to the importance of a Muslim-Jewish dialogue and interfaith relations.  A consultant with The Quantic Group, Pincus, who lives in New York, is passionate about interfaith relations and arts, he serves on the boards of American Jewish Committee, Muslim Jewish Conference, Beit Hatfusot, Gamelatron Foundation.

During their Detroit visit, Al-Samawi and Pincus will also speak at a special evening for young professionals, Escape from Yemen: A Night of Muslim Jewish Dialogue at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 12, at the Center for Creative Studies – Taubman Center in Detroit.  The program is sponsored by Access Detroit, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Muslim-Jewish Forum.

JCRC/AJC Holds October Meetings With Diplomats In Chicago And Detroit

Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC board members joined six Midwest AJC regional offices for a day of diplomacy and advocacy in Chicago as part of the Midwest Diplomatic Marathon.   For the seventh consecutive year, local participants spent the day in Chicago meeting with Consuls General.  In all, advocates held meetings with 27 country representatives 

Among the topics discussed were: holding Iran to account, combatting anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere, advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace, promoting cooperation between Israel and Arab states, and ending bias against Israel in the United Nations. 

This was a particularly important time for advocacy in the aftermath of the UNESCO vote to isolate and censure the Jewish state and negate the millennia-old links between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland.

Meetings continued the following week in Detroit as JCRC/AJC advocates met with the Mexican Consul General and thanked him for Mexico’s reversal of its vote on the UNESCO issue. The representatives also met with the honorary Consuls General of Germany and the United Kingdom. 

Detroit Jewish Community Mourns The Loss Of Shimon Peres

The Detroit Jewish community deeply mourns the loss of Shimon Peres, z”l, one of our generation’s greatest leaders and visionaries. Peres was by every definition an indefatigable advocate for peace and ambassador for the Jewish people and our homeland. His eternal optimism and lifelong commitment were a guiding force, as he dedicated himself to realizing the potential of the Jewish State to benefit all mankind though diplomacy, innovation and medical and scientific advancements.

Recognized as Israel’s greatest elder statesman, Peres was a master diplomat well into his 90s. His wisdom and grace influenced generations of Jewish leaders, including many from our own community. Over the years, several leaders from Detroit had the honor and privilege of working with and getting to know Peres. All would agree that being in his presence was nothing short of inspiring.

Peres was the last of the founding generation of the State of Israel. As a child, Peres immigrated to Israel from Poland with his family in 1934, joined the army as a young man, and at age 30 became Director General of the Defense Ministry. His career as a central figure in Israeli leadership spanned over five decades and included holding nearly every cabinet position, serving twice as Prime Minister and once as President of the State of Israel. The world honored him with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 and in 2012 President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

On behalf of the Detroit Jewish community, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC pray that the memory of Shimon Peres be forever a blessing. (9-29-2016)

The JCRC/AJC Applauds The Historic Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) On Military Assistance Between The United States And Israel

The agreement includes $38 billion in weapons development, intelligence sharing, military aid and strategic cooperation with Israel over the next ten years. The MOU demonstrates America's continued bi-partisan commitment to Israel's security, her people, and the deep connections that link our two nations.

This financial commitment secures Israel's existence as the only Jewish state and helps to safeguard its future in an unstable and dangerous region. The decade-long commitment to strengthen the relationship goes far beyond the sometimes reported and usually short-lived tensions between various U.S. and Israeli administrations throughout history, putting into proper perspective the nearly 69-year U.S.-Israel partnership and alliance. 

The strength of the U.S-Israel relationship is reflected in the fact that the MOU represents the largest pledge of U.S. foreign military aid ever to any country.  It is a key step forward both in sustaining this relationship and ensuring Israel's long-term safety, security and future. The significant increase in funding from the past agreement reflects America's understanding of Israel's right to defend its people from the threats it faces along its borders and beyond, and promotes both American and Israeli strategic interests throughout the Middle East.

In addition, the MOU expresses deep bonds and ties between the American and Israeli peoples. With almost all of the funds to be spent in the U.S., it strikes a blow to those who wish to boycott and isolate Israel economically.   This is particularly important here in Michigan, where the defense industry plays such a key role in our state’s economy. , The MOU has the potential to provide a significant bump to Michigan’s local defense industries and improve our state’s bottom line.

The administration and both houses of Congress should be praised for their work on the agreement and their support for Israel. We express our gratitude to President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, for their leadership and cooperation to get the deal done before the end of President Obama's term of office.

Despite this good news, local Jewish communities such as Detroit's are not off the hook regarding advocating for Israel and fighting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Yes, there was broad support in the administration, the Congress and the U.S. military for the MOU. And there was no significant public opposition to the deal, along with support from the media.. Reflecting this, polls show a majority of support for Israel by the American public.

But anti-Israel groups remain active.  There is a large segment of the public which is unknowing or indifferent to Israel's cause. Detroit Jewry needs to remain vigilant and work to educate our youth and other constituencies, and effectively advocate for Israel among leadership and influentials in government, academia, media, the interfaith community, organized labor and business. The JCRC/AJC is the leading Israel advocacy organization in metro Detroit, and will continue to involve our volunteers, other Jewish organizations, rabbis, synagogues, interfaith friends of Israel and others in this work. We invite you to join us in our efforts to combat BDS and help to build upon the reach of the MOU to ensure the safety, security and future of Israel.  (9-2016)